THE LIBRARY OF THE
AT CHAPEL HILL
THE COLLECTION OF
North Carol iniana Society
FOR USE ONLY IN
THE NORTH CAROLINA COLLECTION
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2012 with funding from
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Frank Hawkins Kenan
Archie K. Davis
Together with Proceedings of a Banquet on the Occasion of the
Presentation of the North Caroliniana Society Award for 1992
NORTH CAROLINIANA SOCIETY IMPRINTS
This edition is limited to
jive hundred signed copies
of which this is number
h ■:> >j
NORTH CAROLINIANA SOCIETY IMPRINTS
H. G. Jones, General Editor
No. 1. An Evening at Monticello: An Essay in Reflection (1978)
by Edwin M. Gill
No. 2. The Paul Green I Know (1978)
by Elizabeth Lay Green
No. 3. The Albert Coates I Know (1979)
by Gladys Hall Coates
No. 4. The Sam Ervin I Know (1980)
by Jean Conyers Ervin
No. 5. Sam Ragan (1981)
by Neil Morgan
No. 6. Thomas Wolfe of North Carolina (1982)
edited by H. G. Jones
No. 7. Gertrude Sprague Carraway (1982)
by Sam Ragan
No. 8. John Fries Blair (1983)
by Margaret Blair McCuiston
No. 9. William Clyde Friday and Ida Howell Friday (1984)
by Georgia Carroll Kyser and William Brantley Aycock
No. 10. William S. Powell, North Carolina Historian (1985)
by David Stick and William C. Friday
No. 11. "Gallantry Unsurpassed" (1985)
edited by Archie K. Davis
No. 12. Mary and Jim Semans, North Carolinians (1986)
by W. Kenneth Goodson
No. 13. The High Water Mark (1986)
edited by Archie K. Davis
No. 14. Raleigh and Quinn (1987)
edited by H. G. Jones
No. 15. A Half Century in Coastal History (1987)
by David Stick
No. 16. Thomas Wolfe at Eighty-seven (1988)
edited by H. G. Jones
No. 17. A Third of a Century in Senate Cloakrooms (1988)
by William McWhorter Cochrane
No. 18. The Emma Neal Morrison I Know (1989)
by Ida Howell Friday
No. 19. Thomas Wolfe's Composition Books (1990)
edited by Alice R. Cotten
No. 20. My Father, Burke Davis (1990)
by Angela Davis-Gardner
No. 21. A Half Century with Rare Books (1991)
by Lawrence F. London
No. 22. Frank H. Kenan: An Appreciation (1992)
edited by Archie K. Davis
Frank Hawkins Kenan:
Archie K. Davis
Together with Proceedings of a Banquet on the Occasion of the Presentation
of the North Caroliniana Society Award for 1992
North Caroliniana Society, Inc.
and North Carolina Collection
Copyright © 1992 by
North Caroliniana Society, Inc.
P. O. Box 127
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514-0127
All rights reserved
Manufactured in the United States of America
AN EVENING WITH FRANK H KENAN
On Friday evening, 24 April 1992, in the Carolina Inn, Chapel Hill, jriends
and family joined in a reception and banquet honoring Frank Hawkins Kenan on the
occasion of his acceptance of the North Caroliniana Society Award. The award recognized
Mr. Kenan's long career as a business leader, public servant, and philanthropist. The
master of ceremonies was H. G. Jones, curator of the North Carolina Collection and
secretary-treasurer oj the Society. Tributes were given by Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans
and Thomas S. Kenan III. Newly elected president William C Friday introduced out-
going president Archie K. Davis, who presented the award. Their remarks, along with
the response of the recipient, are published in this twenty-second number of the North
Caroliniana Society Imprints.
Frank H. Kenan accepts the North Caroliniana Society Award
Opening Remarks and Introductions
H. G. Jones
In our previous fourteen North Caroliniana Society Award ceremonies, we
have welcomed our guests as friends of the recipients. Tonight, we greet you,
for reasons that will become clear as the evening proceeds, as Friends of North
Carolina. Look toward the head table, then look around the room; everywhere
we see people who have contributed to the uniqueness of North Carolina —
people who hold high the obligation and opportunity of public service. The
purpose of the North Caroliniana Society Award is to recognize some of those
who have, by their dedication to the welfare of their fellow North Carolinians,
placed an indelible stamp upon the collective character of our state. We do this
without publicity and in the midst of family and friends. Tonight, as we honor
the life of service of our 1992 recipient, think too of the contributions of those
paying him tribute by your presence.
Before dinner, may I present the head table. Will each please stand and
remain standing until our recipient has been introduced, and will the audience
withhold applause until that moment:
From my far left: William Friday, Mary Louise Davis, Thomas Kenan III,
Mary Semans; to my immediate right, Archie Davis; from my far right, Wynd-
ham Robertson, Willis Whichard, Ida Friday; and now will you join in wel-
coming them all but especially Betty and Frank Kenan.
In the audience are Frank and Betty's daughter Liza and her friend Drew
Howell, and Frank's relatives, Jim and Betty Kenan from Kentucky and Patrick
and Judy Kenan from Durham.
Please enjoy your dinner; we shall be back after dessert.
Paul Green, Albert Coates, Sam Ervin, Sam Pxagan, Gertrude Carraway,
John Fries Blair, William and Ida Friday, William Powell, Mary and Jim Semans,
David Stick, William Cochrane, Emma Neal Morrison, Burke Davis, Lawrence
London. And tonight Frank Kenan.
How sober it is to reflect upon the question, "What would North Carolina
have been without these lives of service?" Multiply them by tens of thousands,
including so many in this room, and we begin to understand why there is in-
deed a unique collective North Carolina character that puzzles many outsiders
and some of our own citizens whose horizons are circumscribed by blinders
"Why are North Carolinians so different?" The answer is not simple, but
a major explanation comes from a long tradition of service beyond self.
That is the purpose of the North Caroliniana Society— service beyond self.
Four of the earlier recipients of the North Caroliniana Society Award have passed
on, but we are happy to have all of the others with us in spirit and several
in body. So, as we prepare to add the name of Frank Kenan to the list, I will
ask each holder of the award present to stand and remain standing until all have
been recognized, after which you may give them your applause: William and
Ida Friday, Bill Powell, Mary Semans, Bill Cochrane, Lawrence London — and
Albert Coates's beloved Gladys.
Now we turn our attention to the North Carolinian whom you came to
see tonight. We have a tradition of selecting members of the Society to par-
ticipate in the award ceremonies. That usually involves compiling a list of members
who know the recipient well, then laboriously narrowing the list to the two
most intimately acquainted with his or her life and accomplishments. This year,
our preliminary list stopped at two. Why go further?
The Dukes and the Kenans. Two pioneer North Carolina families whose
names are indelibly imprinted on our state. Think of our great public Univer-
sity of North Carolina and we think of the Kenan family; think of our great
private Duke University and we think of the Dukes. Think of industrial develop-
ment in North Carolina, and we think of the Kenans and Dukes. Think of
the Duke Endowment, and we think of the William R. Kenan Trust. Think
of those families and we think of two members, who, though unfortunate enough
to be born outside the state, were irresistibly drawn to their ancestral home,
embraced the state and its people, and have served it and them magnificently.
Their lives and interests have intersected for nearly half a century, and North
Carolina has been phenomenally enriched. It would be presumptious of me to
say more about our first speaker than to simply present her by the name by
which she is known and loved throughout North Carolina: Mary Semans.
[Mary Semans's remarks are printed later.]
If Mary Semans knows Frank Kenan as a friend, businessman, and col-
league, who would know him better as a human being and family man than
The name Thomas Kenan goes back at least to eighteenth-century North
Carolina. Kenans by that first name have served in the legislature and in Con-
gress and as colonel of a Confederate regiment at Gettysburg and as attorney
general of the state. Our Thomas is too young to have been tempted to fight
the Yankees, and thus far he has eschewed politics. His service to North Carolina
has been notable in the fields of business and the arts. In the former, he exhibits
the Kenan penchant for success, and in the latter he carries on the Kenan tradi-
tion of sharing the fruits of that success with his fellow North Carolinians.
Among the many beneficiaries of his interest and assistance are the North Carolina
Museum of Art and the Ackland Museum of Art. He holds the Morrison Award
for significant contributions to fine and performing arts, and within the past
month he has been elected a trustee of the Duke Endowment. Tonight, he is
here as a chip off the old block. Frank Kenan's son, known to all of us as Tom.
[Thomas S. Kenan Ill's remarks are printed later.]
In the light of all of these interrelationships, the spectre might have crossed
your mind that if we were negotiating government contracts tonight the whole
head table might go to jail for conflict of interest. What makes this night so
special is the fact that these North Carolinians are characterized by their giving
rather than receiving. Where else but in North Carolina?
At this point, I usually have the privilege of presenting the president of
the North Caroliniana Society, Archie Davis. Tonight I am deprived of that
honor for reasons that will soon become clear. At our afternoon business meeting,
Professor William Powell and Justice Willis P. Whichard were elected vice-
presidents. When Archie Davis announced that he would not accept reelection
as president, we knew that there was no way for us to change his mind. Archie
does not make reversible decisions. I cannot present our new president, however,
without a sentence or two about the old one. Growing up on that farm in Caswell
County; buying my first Ford through a Wachovia Bank loan (and still paying
monthly on my Wachovia mortgage); admiring his proficiency in history and
business; encouraging him when he carried out a lifelong ambition of retiring
from the corporate world and assuming the life of a perpetual graduate student
who, as a matter of principle, still pays his tuition every semester; reining in
his rabbit hunts as he chased off in all directions in his Civil War research and
writing — I had no reason to hope that I would be privileged to work with
this remarkable man so closely for eleven years, during which time we saw a
dream become a reality. Archie, you provided the leadership and credibility that
set the North Caroliniana Society on its path to greater service to our state.
Even though you will no longer hold the power of the presidency, I need your
sage advice — especially in this time of low interest rates — so please continue
to call for chats at 9:20 in the evening. But remember that I too am a man
of firm decision, so continue to let the phone ring at least seven times so I
can get rid of all the computer-generated telemarketing and solicitation calls.
In searching for a duplicate Archie Davis, we did not have to look far.
We simply asked two questions: "If the ideal of the North Caroliniana Society
is 'service above self, who else epitomizes that principle?" and "With whom
has Archie worked closest in the interest of North Carolina?" We knew the
answer without checking their respective telephone logs and correspondence
files. For a half century they have collaborated in response to another question,
"What is best for North Carolina?" It has been an inspiration for me to observe
their collaboration, and I do believe that except for their wives each is the other's
best friend. Their minds seem think as one— except in politics, and a true measure
of character and civility is their tolerance and respect for differing interpreta-
tions of the means of achieving mutually agreed-upon goals. Though saddened
to see the name of Archie Davis placed on another line of our stationery, I
am honored to present the new president of the North Caroliniana Society,
William C. Friday.
[President Friday's remarks are printed later.]
Frank Kenan, Friend
Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans
What a privilege this is! I just love to talk about Frank Kenan. Bill Friday
said I could talk as long as I wanted to. I am still trying to make up for the
time in New York City when the North Carolina Society asked me to introduce
the 1986 award winner— Frank Kenan. About fifteen minutes before that mo-
ment the chairman said that I should say just a few words — less than a minute
because everyone wanted to continue dancing! I told you, Frank, that I would
have my time! The point is that no one can introduce Frank Kenan in one minute.
I doubt that there is a person in this room whose life has not been touched
in some way by Frank Kenan. In his quiet, cheerful manner he has served the
state and its people in countless ways — many times few are aware of. He works
on so many projects behind the scenes, never seeking recognition.
Born in Atlanta, Frank moved to North Carolina and became a powerful
part of a great Kenan tradition, which is service to the University of North Carolina.
His great, great grandfather, James Kenan of Duplin County, was a member
of its first Board of Trustees. His great Uncle Thomas was president of the
University of North Carolina Alumni Association for twenty-five years.
Starting at Woodberry Forest, Frank accepted responsibility as senior prefect
and received the Archer-Christian medal for outstanding scholarship and athletics.
At the University of North Carolina he was a member of student government
and was elected to the Order of the Grail. Following his service in the United
States Navy from 1941-45, he settled in Durham where he founded the Kenan
Oil Company and the Kenan Transport Company. He develops businesses,
challenges young people to manage them, and practices classic American business
in the noblest tradition — imaginative, productive, treating employees and col-
leagues with respect.
Frank's involvement in higher education has been extraordinary. Over the
past twenty years, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, of which he
is a trustee, has endowed close to a hundred professorships at nearly sixty col-
leges and universities.
It was his creative idea to start the Institute for Private Enterprise at the
University of North Carolina School of Business, to be funded by the William
R. Kenan, Jr. Fund and to be housed in the elegant Kenan Center. The Center
also houses the William R. Kenan Fund, a subsidiary of the Trust. He hopes
that the total economy of the state will be helped by the Institutes's activity.
You see, Frank searches for unfilled gaps in education and for those areas which
have not received adequate attention. His most recent innovative move was to
establish two new institutes paralleling the one for private enterprise — one at
the North Carolina School of the Arts for the arts and one at North Carolina
State University for science and engineering. In so doing he takes the courageous
and essential move of recognizing the importance ol the arts in people's spiritual
and cultural lives and the significance of scientific and engineering research. His
thoughts are riveted in our remarkable North Carolina system of higher education.
The variety of Frank's interests is staggering. Philanthropy and service are
his watchwords. Several years ago he worked out a remarkable way of making
a large part of the estate of his terminally-ill Aunt Sarah Graham Kenan available
to the people of North Carolina by establishing the Sarah Graham Kenan Foun-
dation, from which grants were made to many charitable organizations around
the state. As a result of his concern for hospitals, Frank served the Durham
Regional Hospital for several years — as the building commissioner and vice-
chairman and chairman of the finance committee. With that superb background
he was invaluable as a trustee of the Duke Endowment and chairman of its
hospital committee. For twelve years he was a commissioner of Durham Coun-
ty and spent immeasurable hours working on the problems of the community.
It is this sort of selfless service that he has always given and that he is beckon-
ing others to give as part of their community responsibility.
Frank has been involved with the Durham Academy, the Flagler Museum
in Palm Beach, the North Carolina School of the Arts (he was on the original
founding board), the Central Carolina Bank, the restoration of Liberty Hall
(the ancestral home in Kenansville), and the development of "Landfall" in Wilm-
ington, all the while serving as an active member of St. Stephen's Church.
He has received such a multiplicity of awards that I must mention but a few:
— The Distinguished Alumni Award, University of North Carolina at
— The Distinguished Service Award of the University of North Carolina
— The 1982 University of North Carolina Award for Illustrious Service
to Higher Education
— The Durham Civic Honor Award
— The Duke University Medical School Appreciation Citation
— The North Carolina Society of New York Award
— The 1986 Distinguished Citizenship Award from the North Carolina
Citizens for Business and Industry
— The North Carolina Business Hall of Fame Award
— And the highest state award for public service— The Governor's North
Carolina Award, in the category of public service.
I include this number of his activities because of a question a reporter asked
me about our honoree a year or so ago: "Mr. Kenan could retire, travel, and
have a wonderful time without doing all these things. Why does he do so much?'
she queried. "Please explain him to me," she begged in a really genuine way.
I told her that he was too concerned about this state and its people not to be
constantly involved — that helping people, helping humanity was his mission,
that this in addition to being wrapped up in his family, was what made him
happy. We can see that a person who has accomplished so much public service
could not possibly stop and travel.
Frank is a believer in Lisbeth Schorr's dictum that "Society can raise the
chances that millions of ordinary children, growing up in circumstances that
make them vulnerable will develop into healthy and productive adults." This
belief motivated him to urge the sponsorship of the literacy program by the
Kenan Fund which has received nationwide attention.
He is deeply interested in destinies. Recently I heard him ask a senior stu-
dent at the North Carolina School of the Arts in very concerned tones, "Have
you had assistance in searching for job opportunities? Have you talked with
placement officers? Is there a placement office or plans for one?"
He watches. He observes. He asks questions. He listens. He acts. He cares.
He wants future generations to come out well. He is always looking beyond.
These are the answers to that reporter who asked me to explain Mr. Kenan.
He is too busy to retire and always will be; but he will always take time out
for friendship, and to see him with his wonderful family is to see total devo-
tion. He loves his home and his wife and children with a passion.
Two lines from a poem by Nobel laureate Milosz, A Felicitous Life, evoke
Frank Kenan's life in our minds:
"Stars waxed strong and the sun increased its might
Generations grew up friendly to fellow men."
Frank Kenan, Father
Thomas S. Kenan III
My father has been honored in many ways and by many people, but I hope
that this occasion tonight in Chapel Hill will be remembered by him in a special,
warm, down-home way.
My earliest memories of my father go back to Charleston, South Carolina.
The year is 1944— World War II is on — Father is flag secretary under Admiral
Jules James for the Sixth Naval District. Living in the Navy Yard is a little
boy's dream. Father was the admiral's favorite because he went to Woodberry
Forest School (the admiral was a Virginian).
I remember Father in his dress whites — the Marine Band playing on the
admiral's east lawn, Tyrone Power and Janet Leigh being entertained for a war
Every weekend it seemed that a large ship was launched in the Navy Yard
and soon sent to war. The glamour of pagaentry was there— silver-encased cham-
pagne bottles; red, white, and blue satin ribbons; the grimace of the sponsor
as she dashed the bottle on the bow; and then the great whistle and watching
that ship slide slowly into the Cooper River. Father could accomplish the im-
possible, so he got me on top of the USS Tidewater and allowed me to ride
her down the waterways.
Father stressed physical fitness early on. Waiting for the school bus to arrive
at our Navy Yard house, Father would be chinning himself on a broom placed
between two French doors, in plain view.
I remember the day the war was over and the joy on Father's face as he
popped open a bottle of champagne. I was curiously observing my parents and
their friends from the Pawley's Island hammock on our porch.
Then he drove us back to Durham. My brother, Owen Graham Kenan,
was still very young and very good natured and held the distinction of being
born in Charleston some 249 years after his ancestor, Isaac DuBose, arrived from
Father greatly admired traditional things and his first home in Durham
reflected that taste. I have always thought that there was a little bit of architect
and designer in Father, which would surface from time to time.
Business was the name of the game, and Kenan Oil Company started out
in a small building in the traditional Pure Oil Company English cottage style.
Father was happiest when he was working, and I have admired this trait through
the years. He was successful because he was happy doing what he did best.
Then, there was that Christmas Eve night when the Durham Morning Herald
ran out of fuel oil and Father put on his clothes and drove the oil truck downtown
to fill the tank so that the Christmas paper could be delivered.
My brother Owen and I were given summer jobs — first in filling stations,
as they were then called. We learned how to deal with the public — how to
smile at 8:00 A.M. when a customer demanded more than you could produce,
how to make correct change when your father's best friend gave you a $20 bill
and his car only took $1.37 worth of gas. As the years went on, the businesses
grew in size and stature. Father was a fair boss to work for, but you had better
produce and do the best you could.
One of my favorite traits of my father's is his love of history and family.
If we ever passed a historic monument, battlefield, or building, Father would
stop the car briefly to give us a history lesson. In 1947, Father and George
London drove me down to Kenansville to see Sam Byrd's "A Duplin Story,"
one of the early outdoor drama pageants in the state. I remember the thrill
of seeing the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge re-enacted and General James Kenan
attending the first meeting of the Board of Trustees of the University of North
Carolina and of waking up at 3:00 A.M. when we finally arrived back in Durham.
Father's love affair with Gettysburg has been enhanced by his dear friend Archie
Davis. I will never forget flying over Gettysburg in a helicopter with Father
and hearing him explain the battles and where perhaps we went wrong.
Father was proud of his family, and they were mighty proud of him. My
brother Owen and I had frequent occasions to visit with grandparents and even
great grandparents who remembered the Civil War and who could tell us stories.
At that early age I knew I was blessed to hear this oral history. Father saw
to it that my brother and I spent one Christmas in Wilmington with our great
grandmother, Annie Hill Kenan (who was about 97), her two sons, Owen and
Tom, and her daughter, Emily. He wanted us to witness and remember a style
of living that would soon disappear forever. The servants were so kind to us —
they were direct descendants of slaves on the Lochlin Plantation. They, too, were
extremely proud of their heritage and association.
In 1956 Father went to the aid of the older Kenans who desperately needed
him, his counsel, and his ability. From that moment on our lives changed. Father,
as the conservator of his family fortune — Father as the trustee of charitable
foundations — Father as a builder of new enterprises. The older we all got the
more exciting our lives became.
The thing I like best about my father is that he is just as much fun and
at ease entertaining you in Palm Beach at the Breakers as he is taking you for
an early morning coffee and sausage biscuit at Bojangles. Thank you, Father,
for what you have done for your family and friends. You mean a lot to us.
Father has usually taken a low profile role in politics, but I remember those
exciting years back in the 1950s when he ran for county commissioner and his
neighbor, Lib Lanning, ran for county board of education. I think Mary Semans
was mayor pro tem. They all won and we listened to the radio all evening as
precincts reported in. I think the political bug has bitten him again!
Introduction of Archie K. Davis
William C. Friday
H. G. is right; Archie has been the guiding spirit, our resident philosopher,
mover, and shaker. Arch, this afternoon at our meeting of the Board of Direc-
tors, anticipating this evening, Bill Cochrane made a motion, seconded by Ed
Rankin, and by unanimous vote the Society took two actions in your good
name: The first was to establish the position of president emeritus. The second
was to elect Archie K. Davis to that office with all of its rights and privileges.
Arch, I have been one of those for about six years, and I am going to tell you
what it is like. When we say all rights and privileges, first let me say, as Frank
Kenan said at the board meeting today, the pay will remain the same. Secondly,
it doesn't carry any priority on tickets to the Dean Dome. Thirdly, we are going
to work hard to see if it doesn't at least get you a designated parking place
in Chapel Hill. But as your and my good and great friend Albert Coates said
when defining a professor emeritus, the smile is left
The real meaning o( this action today, Arch, is this: the North Caroliniana
Society and the University of North Carolina, to which you have given your
very all, will hold you in their embrace forever.
Presentation of the Award
Archie K. Davis
Our honored guest, Frank Hawkins Kenan, and I have been close friends
for sixty-six years. I can say, therefore, that I have known him longer than has
anyone in this gathering tonight. During this period our paths of mutual in-
terest have crossed and recrossed countless times, even as far back as 1792, when
our respective great-great-grandfathers served together in the North Carolina
But it was at Woodberry Forest School in Virginia that Frank and I first
met, he from Georgia and I from North Carolina— the year 1926. He was fourteen
and I fifteen. It was at night, in early September, and on the parallel bars in
the old gym. There was no one else present. We were both slight of frame
and ambitious to be great athletes. The similarity ended there.
As I walked into the gym that night I saw this young fellow on the parallel
bars. He was swinging up into a hand-stand position and vaulting to the floor
with apparently little effort. I asked if he would show me how to do it. He
tried, but I failed time and again. I explained to him that I had broken my
left wrist pole vaulting the previous spring and needed to rebuild my strength.
It was then that Frank sold me on gymnastics. All I needed to do, he
said, was practice, practice, practice — on the parallel bars, the high bar, and the
swings. My ambition to be a great athlete having been restored, I set out. Within
the next twelve months I wound up with a compound fracture of my left arm,
a broken right thigh, as well as a broken right arm. That just about finished
me off. As for Frank, he kept right on and proved himself an outstanding athlete
and student leader at both Woodberry and Carolina.
It has been in the private and public arena of life, however, that our honored
guest has played such a vital and constructive role over the past half century.
That he has enjoyed a successful business career goes without saying, but it
has been interpretive analysis of our democratic society— of the meaningful im-
portance of private enterprise, of the arts, of engineering, technology and science,
and of their indispensable inter-relationship in preserving the quality of life in
these United States — that has set Frank Hawkins Kenan apart as both a visionary
and pragmatist, as thinker and activist, and finally, as a man of strong deter-
mination coupled with an equally strong sense of fairness and understanding.
Frank Kenan has long enjoyed a national reputation for his entrepreneurial
capability, coupled with his outstanding role as both industrialist and philan-
thropist. A few highlights of his unique career, in addition to those mentioned
by Mary Semans, attest to his purposeful outlook and dedication to public ser-
vice. As a principal trustee of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust:
— He played a major role in the establishment of ninety-two William R.
Kenan, Jr. Professorships in fifty-six of our nation's major colleges and
— It was through his advocacy that a matching grant program was instituted
for the leading secondary schools of our country in which the Trust
invested $27 million.
— For a period of twenty years the Trust has joined with the Southern
Regional Education Board in assisting historically black colleges in the
— He was one of the founders of the National Center for Family Literacy
now based in Louisville, Kentucky.
— The MBA Enterprise Corporation and the Global Air Cargo proposals
were developed in the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enter-
prise. From the beginning, the Institute has honored his dream by serving
as the medium for bringing together business, government, and the
The list of Frank Kenan's achievements could go on and on— but at the
risk of obscuring the man behind the deeds. Quiet, soft-spoken and friendly,
his character, personal commitment and sage outlook speak for themselves. And
finally, above all else, his life and works have provided yet another outstanding
example of the traditional Kenan family concern for the common good of their
beloved State of North Carolina.
Before us sits on a mahogany base the sterling silver North Caroliniana
Society Award Cup, a treasured heirloom, the history of which was described
to us last year. Around the cup will be silver plates on which are to be engraved
the names of the fifteen recipients of the award — and with space for future names.
This handsome ensemble will grace the Reading Room of the North Carolina
Collection in perpetuity, reminding future generations of their debt to men
and women who have served their state and fellow North Carolinians so gen-
erously. A simple but elegant silver goblet is presented to the recipient as a
memento of his or her recognition. For selecting the award cup and for design-
ing and overseeing the construction of its base and future protective cover, we
are indebted to John Sanders and his wife Ann.
Frank, this is my last official act as president of the North Caroliniana
Society. Nothing could possibly be more pleasing to me, in this late hour of
a relationship that began sixty-six years ago on the parallel bars, than to enjoy
the high privilege and rare personal pleasure of presenting to you the 1992 North
Caroliniana Society Award.
Acceptance of the Award
Frank H. Kenan
Thank you for this much-appreciated recognition. My son Tom and I have
been together for some 54 years. We served together in the Navy for four years,
and I think it was because of Tom that I was appointed admiral's aide and flag
secretary because Admiral James had a young daughter who was Tom's age and
he needed someone to escort her to all the ceremonies. Tom is a wonderful
son and I am extremely proud of the many things he has done to improve the
quality of life for others.
There have been five angels in my life: my mother, my wife Betty, my
two daughters, and Mary Semans. I have known Mary a good long time and
worked with her and for her on the Duke Endowment. I have never known
anyone who could accomplish as much as Mary has accomplished without ever
raising her voice. She is truly a remarkable one and a pleasure to know.
My dear friend, Archie. I have known this remarkable Southern gentleman
for over sixty-five years. The first time I saw Archie was when I arrived at
Woodberry Forest School as a fourteen-year-old Second Form Rat. Archie was
an upperclassman, a star on the football field, and a leader of the student body.
He became my role model then and has been an inspiration to me ever since.
Archie has won innumerable honors, and I have won a few but always years
behind Archie. He more or less set the direction I was to take but he set an
awfully fast pace. I tried as best I could to emulate him with some success.
On the path through life, I have passed many signposts stating that Archie had
been there before me and had accomplished such and such. He was always an
inspiration and someone I wanted to emulate. I have found that I am not the
only one that was influenced greatly by Archie Davis.
It would take too long to enumerate the many honors Archie has received
and his many accomplishments. Most of you are familiar with them at any rate.
Close to home though you know that Archie was largely responsible for the
success of the Research Triangle and was absolutely responsible for the location
of the National Humanities Center in North Carolina. But of all the things
Archie has accomplished, probably the one he enjoyed the most was placing
the monument on the Battlefield of Gettysburg to mark the "High Water Mark"
of the Confederacy. Some of you were there on this occasion. I remember quite
well listening to heroic speeches by George London and others and the sort
of off-key music played by the Moravian Band. While sitting there looking
at the stone wall on Cemetery Ridge only eighteen paces away, I couldn't help
thinking, as I am sure some of the others in the audience did, what would
have happened if Archie Davis had been there instead of General Longstreet.
Bless you, Archie, for all the good things you have accomplished in your life.
For an old man to accomplish the many things that Archie has attributed
to me, surely he must have some rule that he follows or some secret for his
successes, and I do. What's helped me through life comes from the Sermon
on the Mount, Matthew 7, Verses 7 & 8. I would like to share this with you:
Ask, and it will be given you; seek and you will Jind; knock, and it will be opened
to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks
it will be opened.
Remarks were made by, left to right, top, H. G. Jones and Mary Semans; bottom,
Thomas Kenan III and William C. Friday. All photos by Jerry W. Gotten, North
Friends for 66 years: Frank Kenan and Archie Davis.
Frank and Betty Kenan laugh during Archie Davis's remarks; at bottom they pose
with son Tom and daughter Liza.
Frank and Betty Kenan with Edwin M. Yoder (left) and Justice John Webb; at
bottom, Frank and his nephew, James G. Kenan III.
Frank Kenan chats with Ellie Ferguson (left) and Mary Dickens; at bottom, with
Christopher C. Fordham III.
Barbara Fordham and Betty Kenan talk during reception; at bottom, Jonathan Yardley
and Roy Parker, Jr.
At top, Elna Spaulding and her son Aaron; at bottom, Charles Shaffer, Bill Cochrane,
and Georgia Kyser.
Mary Semans and Katherine Can chat at top; below, Ed Yoder and his former
professor, James R. Caldwell, Jr.
Nancy Sitterson and Charles and Isabel Eaton; at bottom, Archie Davis and Aaron
Carlyle Sitterson greets Isaac Copeland, who recently returned to his hometown of
Clinton, South Carolina. At bottom Mary Kratt and Richardson Preyer.
Top, Ida Friday congratulates Gladys Coates, who turned ninety in May; at bottom,
John and Ann Sanders pose with the award cup and its pedestal, which they designed.
The North Caroliniana Society, Inc.
North Carolina Collection
Wilson Library, UNC Campus Box 3930
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-3930
Chartered by the Secretary of State on 11 September 1975 as a private nonprofit corporation under provisions
of Chapter 55A of the General Statutes of North Carolina, the North Caroliniana Society is dedicated to the
promotion of increased knowledge and appreciation of North Carolina's heritage. This it accomplishes in a variety
of ways: encouragement of scholarly research and writing in and the teaching of state and local history; publica-
tion of documentary materials, including the numbered, limited-edition North Caroliniana Society Imprints and
North Caroliniana Society Keepsakes; sponsorship of professional and lay conferences, seminars, lectures, and exhibi-
tions; commemoration of historic events, including sponsorship of markers and plaques; and assistance to the
North Carolina Collection and North Carolina Collection Gallery of the University of North Carolina Library
and other cultural organizations, such as the Friends of the Library, the Friends of the Archives, the North Carolina
Literary and Historical Association, the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina, and the North Carolina
Incorporated by H. G. Jones, William S. Powell, and Louis M. Connor, Jr., who soon were joined by a
distinguished group of North Carolinians, the Society was limited to one hundred members for its first decade.
However, it does elect from time to time additional individuals meeting its strict criterion of "adjudged perfor-
mance" in service to their state's culture — i.e., those who have demonstrated a continuing interest in and support
of the historical, literary, and cultural heritage of North Carolina. The Society, a tax-exempt organization under
provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, expects service rather than dues. For its programs,
it depends upon the contributions, bequests, and devises of its members and friends. Its IRS number is 56-1119848.
Upon request, contributions to the Society may be counted toward membership in the Chancellors' Club. The
Society administers the Archie K. Davis Fund, given in 1987 by the Research Triangle Foundation in honor of
its retiring board chairman and the Society's longtime president.
A highlight of the Society's year is the presentation of the North Caroliniana Society Award for long and
distinguished service in the encouragement, production, enhancement, promotion and preservation of North
Caroliniana. Starting with Paul Green, the Society has recognized Tar Heels such as Albert Coates, Sam J. Ervin,
Jr., Sam Ragan, Gertrude S. Carraway, John Fries Blair, William and Ida Friday, William S. Powell, Mary and
James Semans, David Stick, William M. Cochrane, Emma Neal Morrison, and Burke Davis. The proceedings
of the awards banquets, published in the Imprints series, furnish rare glimpses into the lives of those recognized.
The Society has its headquarters in the North Carolina Collection, the "Conscience of North Carolina," which
seeks to preserve for present and future generations all that has been or is published by North Carolinians
regardless of subject and about North Carolina and North Carolinians regardless of author or source. In this mis-
sion the Collection's clientele is far broader than the University community; indeed, it is the entire citizenry
of North Carolina, as well as those outside the state whose research extends to North Carolina or North Carolin-
ians. Members of the North Caroliniana Society share a very special relationship to this unique Collection that
dates back to 1844 and stands unchallenged as the largest and most comprehensive repository in America of published
materials about a single state. The North Carolina Collection Gallery, opened in 1988, adds exhibition and inter-
pretive dimensions to the Collection's traditional services. These combined resources fulfill the vision of President
David L. Swain (1801-1868), who founded the Collection; Librarian Louis Round Wilson (1876-1979), who
nurtured it; and Philanthropist John Sprunt Hill (1869-1961), who generously endowed it. All North Carolinians
are enriched by this precious legacy.
Board of Directors (1992)
William C. Friday, President
Archie K. Davis, President Emeritus
William S. Powell, Vice-President
Willis P. Whichard, Vice President
H. G. Jones, Secretary and Treasurer
William McWhorter Cochrane Nancy Cobb Lilly
Frank Borden Hanes George Elliot London
Betty Hodges Edward L. Rankin, Jr.
Frank H. Kenan John L. Sanders
Henry W. Lewis William D. Snider
H EC KM AN
X JAN 93